Refugees are people who have been displaced from their homes and countries of origin because of persecution, conflicts, terrorism and disasters. They cross international borders and seek shelter in a neighbouring nation. World Refugee Day seeks to honour such people, highlights their plight to the world and seeks to improve their lives. Below, we take a look at the history, theme and some key facts about asylum seekers for this year’s event.
World Refugee Day 2021: History
The date, June 20, was decided upon by the United Nations General Assembly while adopting Resolution 55/76, on December 4, 2000. In 2001, on June 20, World Refugee Day was celebrated for the first time. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention which deals with the protection of refugees internationally.
World Refugee Day 2021: Theme
The theme for this year’s World Refugee Day is “Together we heal, learn and shine.” It highlights the basic needs of displaced persons, such as healthcare, nutrition and education. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is also using sports to help displaced people heal through physical and mental activities.
World Refugee Day 2021: Key Facts
- As per the United Nations (UN), 79.5 million people have been displaced by the end of 2019. The United States has a backlog of asylum claims of over 1.1 million and are expecting above 300,000 new claims.
- As per the UNHCR’s recent Global Trends Report, published on June 18 this year, 82.4 million people have gotten displaced last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of those, 42 per cent are girls and boys under 18 years of age.
- 2020 also saw over 160 countries closing their borders to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 99 of them did not allow entry to any refugees. The number of refugees resettled last year was 34,400 only.
- In February, this year, UNHCR found around 878,000 Rohingya refugees living in camps with inadequate spaces, after the Myanmar coup displaced them. 5.7 million Palestinians got displaced as per the 2020 report, due to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
- Among nations providing asylum to refugees, Turkey holds the top position by hosting 3.7 million refugees.